Paul Carrack returns with a brand new studio album and is ready to reach new heights with ‘These Days’, released on 7th September on his own record label, Carrack-UK. In addition to the release of These Days, Paul will embark on an extensive 30-date UK tour for 2019, which begins on 18th January in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, and ends on 24th March at The Lowry in Salford.
‘These Days’ is Paul’s 17th album, a run that began way back in 1980, but which has been building real, independent momentum since he formed his record label in 2000 with the landmark ‘Satisfy My Soul’ album release.
Before then, Paul’s breakthrough moment came when he wrote and sang ‘How Long’, the much-covered 1974 classic from his days with Ace, and was the voice of ‘Tempted’ from his tenure with Squeeze. Then came such hits with Mike + the Mechanics as ‘The Living Years’ and ‘Over My Shoulder’, the latter a co-write with Mike Rutherford. Not to mention that another co-write, ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’, was covered by the Eagles and won a hugely prestigious ASCAP Award as Song of the Year.
Diana Ross, no less, covered Carrack’s co-write with Nick Lowe, ‘Battlefield’, and as an in-demand collaborator, Paul’s decades of distinction include sessions with the Smiths, Roxy Music, B.B. King and countless others, culminating in a request from Eric Clapton to join his touring band. That rare honour comes up-to-date in the summer of 2018 with their homecoming performance in London’s Hyde Park.
Since the turn of the century, instead of making other artists look great, Paul has quietly built a huge, loyal fan base, an audience that not only devours his albums, but turns out to see his frequent, extensive tours in their thousands. He’s done that the only way he knows; making high-quality, accessible pop-soul with unmissable hooks and lyrics that say something about all of our lives.
That’s truer than ever on ‘These Days’. The album’s stunning line-up features Paul on keyboards and guitar and regular bandmate Jeremy Meek on bass, joined by Robbie McIntosh (Paul McCartney, Pretenders, Norah Jones, John Mayer) on lead guitar and drummer Steve Gadd, Paul’s Eric Clapton bandmate who has graced the work of everyone from Steely Dan to James Taylor.
As if their exemplary playing wasn’t enough, the album’s horn section is hand-picked and overseen by the mighty Pee Wee Ellis, the American saxophone ace who was an integral part of James Brown’s shows and records of the vintage ‘Cold Sweat’ era. Five tracks on ‘These Days’ have lyrics by Paul’s friend, former Squeeze bandmate and consummate wordsmith Chris Difford.
As usual, the new songs started in Carrack’s home studio, but they came to life in a different and exciting way this time. “I don’t write a song and then do a demo,” he explains. “It’s a little nugget of an idea and I start messing about with it, chipping away and it becomes something. Usually, that’s completed and that becomes the album.
“In this case, I took a lot of the songs quite a way, but then we decided we wanted to make it a bit more performance-based and with some other influences. I’ve been playing with Eric for about five years now, and I just mentioned it to Steve Gadd, was it something he might be interested in, and he was very keen.”
When Gadd said he’d be coming through the UK on the way home from a European tour with Chick Corea, Paul seized the moment and booked into Air Studios in London for three days to cut a dozen tracks as a band, before taking it back to his home studio.
Plenty of the songs, from the title track to ‘Where Does The Time Go’, ‘The Best I Could’ and ‘Dig Deep’ strike a glass-half-full, pensive mood about the long road travelled and the adventures still to come. “When I think about it, we’ve come a long, long way,” as Paul sings on the typically catchy and beguiling ‘Amazing’.
There was another moment of reflection when Carrack came to choose the striking cover image for the album, as he rifled through a box of his late father’s photographs. “When you go through these things, you realise you’ve come a hell of a long way,” he muses. The gorgeous image is of Paul’s brother. “That’s us on holiday,” he says. “We’re living it large there; I think it’s probably the Isle of Wight. Man, that was exotic back in the day. We had pretty humble beginnings.”
‘These Days’ is grown-up pop music made by, and for, people who’ve had the ups and downs that life unfailingly provides. “It’s about getting to an age, and appreciating what you’ve got,” says Carrack. “I hope it will resonate with people who are going through the same stuff. It’s not being frightened of it, and just trying to enjoy it.”
‘These Days’ track listing:
2. Life In A Bubble
3. In The Cold Light Of Day
4. Dig Deep
5. These Days
6. You Make Me Feel Good
7. Tell Somebody Who Cares
8. Where Does The Time Go?
9. Talk To Me
10. Perfect Storm
11. The Best I Could
The full list of Paul Carrack’s European tour dates are as follows:
19 Aug Henley-on-Thames Rewind South
13 Oct Enschede, NL Muziekcentrum Enschede
14 Oct Amsterdam, NL Theater Carré
15 Oct Zwolle, NL Theater De Spiegel
17 Oct Arnhem, NL Musis Parkzaal Arnhem
18 Oct Eindhoven, NL Muziekgebouw Frits Philips
18 Jan Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
19 Jan Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
20 Jan Leeds Leeds Town Hall
25 Jan Birmingham Symphony Hall
26 Jan York The Barbican
27 Jan Gateshead The Sage
01 Feb Perth Perth Concert Hall
02 Feb Hull Hull City Hall
03 Feb Cambridge Corn Exchange
08 Feb Bournemouth Pavilion
09 Feb Plymouth Pavilions
10 Feb Swansea Brangwyn Hall
14 Feb Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
15 Feb Milton Keynes Milton Keynes Theatre
16 Feb Margate Winter Gardens
22 Feb Edinburgh Edinburgh Festival Theatre
23 Feb Dunfermline Alhambra Theatre
24 Feb Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
01 Mar Southend Cliffs Pavilion
02 Mar London London Palladium
03 Mar Birmingham Symphony Hall
08 Mar Guildford G Live
09 Mar Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
10 Mar Cardiff St David’s Hall
14 Mar Sheffield City Hall
15 Mar Leicester De Montfort Hall
16 Mar Brighton Brighton Centre
22 Mar Middlesbrough Middlesbrough Town Hall
23 Mar Harrogate Convention Centre
24 Mar Salford The Lowry
Tickets for all dates are available to buy at www.paulcarrack.net/tour/.